Credit unions were so busy living the `people helping people’ philosophy this holiday season that it is impossible for Credit Union Times to list all their generous efforts. So here is just a glimpse at how credit unions celebrated the holidays: People’s Alliance Federal Credit Union, Hauppauge, N.Y., staffers joined forces to contribute to the Marty Lyons Foundation Toy Drive. The Marty Lyons Foundation helps to fulfill the special wishes of children, between the ages of three and 17, who have been diagnosed as having a terminal or life threatening illness by providing and organizing a wish such as: a trip, meeting a celebrity, attending a special event, a shopping spree, a specific gift, or many other special wishes. In addition, the foundation collects toys for these children and their families to help make their holiday season special. Kent Credit Union, Ohio, employees accepted shoe “deposits” over this holiday season. As sponsor of “Warm the Soles of Kids” Kent CU joined other area credit unions in the Summit Chapter of the Ohio Credit Union League to help needy area children. Donations were presented to the Portage County Clothing Center. Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, Anchorage, Alaska, has opted to waive the coin counting fee for over $2,500 in coins donated to the Toys for Tots program this holiday season. The United States Marine Corps launched an “Ashtray Challenge” to help raise additional funds. Whoever brought in the most change at one time, would receive an X Box fully loaded with accessories. Once the change was collected Toys for Tots headed to Denali Alaskan FCU Financial Center self-serve coin counter. In just one day the credit union handled over 200 pounds of coins. Allied Solutions, a leading provider of insurance services to credit unions, marked the holidays by donating $10,000 to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) organization on behalf of their employees and credit union clients. This donation is in addition to numerous contributions made throughout the year for various fund raising events that benefit local chapters of CMN across the country. Langley Federal Credit Union, Hampton, Va., Toyland Express chugged its way into the hearts of every child this past holiday parade season. The locomotive dazzled spectators with twists and turns as it carried young passengers on a fun-filled, holiday ride. In addition, LFCU’s float has won several awards including Coliseum Central’s Holiday Celebration Christmas Parade – 1st Place Commercial Float; Poquoson Christmas Parade – 2nd Place Commercial Float; Hampton Holly Days Parade – Best of Parade; and Williamsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Community Christmas Parade – 2nd Place Float. South Jersey Federal Credit Union, Deptford, N.J., has donated nearly $2,000 to help area families this holiday season. The money, contributed throughout the year as part of the credit union’s “In the Spirit of the Season” holiday contribution program, has been used to purchase food and toys for less fortunate families in Gloucester, Camden and Atlantic Counties. Vantage Credit Union, St. Louis, Mo., teamed up with current and former Cardinals’ players during the Cardinals Care Christmas party. The players greeted children and presented gifts bought and donated by Vantage CU employees to children from 16 local children’s agencies. Over 300 gifts were collected. Each year, during the holidays, Vantage CU collects food, gifts and well-loved clothing for such organizations as Youth In Need, Guardian Angel Settlement, Helping Hand/Healing Hearts, and St. Patrick’s Center. Saugus Federal Credit Union, Mass., employees filled holiday baskets with everything from turkeys to tablecloths with enough food for several meals. The baskets were donated to the Saugus Senior Center and Help for Abused Women and Children. HAWC is an organization that provides services to the cities of Salem, Gloucester, Lynn and Ipswich. Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union, Sayreville, N.J., has donated a portion of its ATM surcharge funds to the Toys for Tots and Adopt a Family programs here for the fourth consecutive year. A total of $885.40 was raised in the fourth quarter of 2003 to purchase toys for needy children this holiday season. The Adopt a Family program matches families in need of Christmas gifts, clothing and food with organizations willing to help. Security Service Federal Credit Union, San Antonio, donated almost 5,100 pounds of turkey during the credit union sponsored Turkey Round-Up to help feed some 400 families here during the holiday season. SSFCU also partnered with the San Antonio Food Bank and Clear Channel Communications to sponsor the “Food 4 SA” drive and collected over one million pounds of food. Constitution Corporate Credit Union, Wallingford, Conn., employees have helped Connecticut’s Shoreline Association for the Retarded and Handicapped (SARAH), brighten the holidays for those with special needs. Constitution’s employees split up a list of over 100 specific gift wishes ranging from sheets and comforters to clothing and household items. SARAH is a family of private, nonprofit, community agencies that provide services, supports and advocacy for individuals with developmental and other disabilities, as well as for their families. Wescom Credit Union, Pasadena, Calif., has collected some 1,000 gifts through the coordinating efforts of its employee-run charitable organization, WeCare for the Grace Center, a local safe haven for victims of domestic violence and their children. Mothers at the shelter will “shop” from the donations for their children. Single women and mothers in the shelter also have the opportunity to select their own gifts. Bayer Credit Union, Elkhart, Ind., employees spent two days delivering bears to children in the pediatric units of Elkhart General Hospital, Goshen Hospital, Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, and several other local not-for-profit charity organizations. The credit union teamed up with local popular radio station Froggy 102.7 to collect and distribute the bears.

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